Janet Sung on The Meadowmount School of Music’s Unique Summer Program

Applications for the 2023 Summer Program are open until January 17, 2023.

Violin Channel recently caught up Janet Song, the Artistic Director of the Meadowmount School of Music in Westport, New York, discussed a seven-week summer program. Over the past 60 years, it has attracted many of the industry’s leading performers.

Open to violinists, violists and cellists, the application deadline is January 17, 2023.

Meadowmount accepts approximately 200 students between the ages of 13 and 30+ through a video audition process focused on solo and chamber music material. Students follow a rigorous practice plan, receive weekly private lessons and chamber music coaching, and are offered daily masterclasses by faculty and guest artists. Students frequently perform at three on-campus concerts per week and at various off-campus concerts during sessions.

Can you tell us about the Meadowmount School of Music and its famous place in music history?

Founded in 1944 by noted educator and violinist Ivan Galamian, Meadowmount quickly became known as the premier summer program for string studies. Garamian had a dream to create a place that would provide the ideal environment and opportunities for young musicians to develop their talents.

Meadowmount’s longtime alumni are some of the most prominent names performing today, including Joshua Bell, Itzhak Perlman, James Ehnes, Ani and Ida Kavafian, Jesse Montgomery, and VC artist’s We continue to include a whole new generation of young artists, including cellist Brannon. Cho and members of the Isidore Quartet, winners of the 2022 Banff International String Quartet Competition. Anyone who sets foot on the Meadowmount campus can’t help but feel its history. The walls are literally covered with photographs of the many artists who have made Meadowmount their summer ‘home’.

What are the key elements that truly define the “meadowmount experience”?

First, intensive and focused training is made possible through a structured, distraction-free environment and helps foster purposeful practice. Learn lifelong lessons about community, not just music, from your like-minded peers. Third, participants acquire lifelong friendships that naturally spread through these shared experiences.

Finally, students can learn to incorporate their own well-being into their training and develop habits of practice and performance that last a lifetime. By regularly offering her technique, yoga and wellness sessions, Alexander hopes to prepare musicians for a long musical life.

What is the most important benefit that a student gains from being indifferent and distracted focused for 7 weeks?

With full immersion at Meadowmount, musicians are free to focus on reaching the ‘next level’ in their growth as artists. Whether further honing her technique and artistry, preparing for international competitions and auditions, or delving deeper into chamber music collaborations, her seven weeks in the Meadowmount environment truly allowed her to absorb and make sense of what she had learned. It gives me the time and mental space to in their performance. The benefits of lessons learned often last well past the summer.

Tell us about your education and guest faculty in 2023. What type of student do you think the Meadowmount program is best suited for?

Having a world-renowned faculty roster, including esteemed returning faculty such as Ann Setzer, Hans Jensen, Gerardo Ribeiro, Yi Hao Li, Ivan Zenati, Stephen Lochen and Janet Sohn I’m excited about We also welcome exciting new faculty members in 2023: Paul Kantor, Ayane Kozasa, Su Zhen, Thomas Landschoot and Wei Yu. As the list of guest artists for Summer 2023 grows, it will include Grammy-nominated VC artists Aisli String Quartet, and Juilliard Quartet violist Molly Carr and cellist Astrid Schwien. Many of our guests are also Meadowmount alumni, a wonderful and perfect connection to many of these artists.

Meadowmount is perfect for serious young musicians who want to take their playing to another level and are looking for a unique environment with the stimulation, structure and encouragement to get there.

What kind of feedback do you often hear from students and alumni?

One of the most common comments I hear from students and alumni is, “Meadowmount is my musical ‘home’ away from home,” where they have grown not only as musicians but as people. This was shared by an alumnus who 10, 20, 30 years ago he joined Meadowmount, and a student who just joined in the summer of 2022.

Another common comment we hear from students, teachers and guests is that Meadowmount is a place where students get things done.

Last summer, we started streaming many in-person concerts for the first time in the summer after the 2021 online edition. What do you think is the importance of engaging this new online audience?

The online concert was a great way to get a glimpse of what was happening at Meadowmount. It’s also a great way to share the talent of young musicians coming to Meadowmount with a new audience.

There are many traditions that Meadowmount has always held, but also in a great way.

Meadowmount can embrace change even in its idyllic surroundings. Of course, nothing beats experiencing Meadowmount first-hand as a student or audience.

What are you most looking forward to this summer?

Personally, I am most excited to be surrounded again by the electrical energy of the students and music production by the highly talented student, guest and faculty artists. One of my fondest memories of last summer is that on the first day he was walking down the lanes of Meadowmount and hearing music coming from every building and every room. And every time I hear the roar of applause and cheers from the students who support their peers on stage, my heart warms!

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